Frameline Highlights both Festival Veterans and Newcomer Women Filmmakers at Frameline40
San Francisco, CA — Frameline40: The King of Queer Film Festivals, the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, continues to explore and highlight films from women mediamakers. As a world-renowned stage for the newest and most exciting voices in independent cinema, Frameline40 features 59 films created by women filmmakers-including 50 percent of this year's feature-length documentaries and 42 percent of narrative features in the program-representing a continuing growth trend from Frameline39, and percentages greatly exceed mainstream industry standards of women represented in filmmaking. With stories of family dysfunction (THE INTERVENTION, RARA), desire versus conflict (SUMMERTIME, HER STORY: SEASON ONE, WOMEN WHO KILL), Hollywood glamour (WOMEN HE'S UNDRESSED) and proudly having "Kick-Ass" ovaries (OVARIAN PSYCOS), phenomenal women, both Frameline veterans and fresh faces, have crafted an extraordinary range of films at Frameline40.
AKRON / DIRS Sasha King & Brian O'Donnell / 2015 / USA / 88 min
A spark of attraction, a budding romance, a dark family secret: tender first love between a pair of college freshmen is put to the test when a tragic connection from far in their past is unexpectedly revealed.
AWOL / DIR Deb Shoval / 2016 / USA / 85 min / Centerpiece US Feature
Tomboy Joey and married mom Rayna fall for each other in this story of star-crossed love set in working-class rural Pennsylvania. The pair can't quit each other, but they struggle to imagine a life together as Joey's deployment for Afghanistan approaches.
BRUISING FOR BESOS / DIR Adelina Anthony / 2016 / USA / 88 min
Yoli, a queer xicana artist finds great passion and love with Daña. But their growing intimacy stirs up their own troubled histories. Can Yoli break the cycle, face the past, and create something new for herself?
GIRL GETS GIRL / DIR Sonia Sebastián / 2014 / Spain / 88 min
Sexy Inés escapes home to her chosen family in Spain after she's caught cheating on her girlfriend. Full of surprises, colorful characters, and stolen kisses, this nonstop romp has the dyke drama of The L Word and the campy vibrancy of an Almodóvar film.
GIRLS LOST / DIR Alexandra-Therese Keining / 2016 / Sweden / 105 min / Showcase Film
In this delectably twisted fairytale of gender fluidity, three outcast girls' dreams of boyhood become reality, sending them down a shadowy path of self-discovery.
HEARTLAND / DIR Maura Anderson / 2016 / USA / 100 min
An Oklahoma artist reeling from her girlfriend's death forms an unexpected bond with her brother's polished business and life partner, who's visiting from California. But when their friendship sparks a reckless romance, their worlds are turned upside-down.
HER STORY: SEASON ONE / DIR Sydney Freeland / 2015 / USA / 55 min
The much anticipated sexy new-media series grapples forthrightly with the frictions and fissures of desire between trans and queer women, as they navigate sometimes paradoxical identities in Los Angeles.
A HOLY MESS / DIR Helena Bergström / 2015 / Sweden / 108 min
Simon and Oscar will soon be parents, courtesy of their best friend and surrogate Cissi. When they invite their (slightly homophobic) parents over for Christmas to share the good news, all holiday hell breaks loose, with results that are both hilarious and heartfelt.
THE INTERVENTION / DIR Clea DuVall / 2016 / USA / 88 min / Showcase Film
Friends and family stage a marriage intervention for a toxic couple, only to have to confront their own issues in writer-director-star Clea DuVall's sharp, funny, and honest portrayal of the complexities of modern adult relationships.
ME, MYSELF AND HER / DIR Maria Sole Tognazzi / 2015 / Italy / 86 min
Polar opposites in personality but perfectly aligned in love, Marina and Federica have built their five-year relationship on trust, respect, and chemistry. But will temptation from the past stir up old doubts?
RARA / DIR Pepa San Martín / 2016 / Chile, Argentina / 88 min / Showcase Film
With her first feature, writer-director Pepa San Martín constructs a brilliantly subtle family drama that is both a poignant coming-of-age tale and a based-on-a-true-story account of a lesbian marriage threatened by social forces, told chiefly from almost-13-year-old daughter Sarah's perspective.
SUICIDE KALE / DIR Carly Usdin / 2015 / USA / 78 min
In this mostly improvised dark comedy, Jordan and Billie, a married couple of five years, seem to be living the lesbian dream-complete with an enviably beautiful home and a co-parented pit bull pup. But when their pals stop by for beers and grilled veggie skewers, they discover what appears to be an anonymous suicide note.
SUMMERTIME / DIR Catherine Corsini / 2015 / France / 105 min / Showcase Film
Oh, those heady days of the 1970s, when passion and politics intertwined. In this smart, sexy movie, French farm girl Delphine finds love with Parisian feminist Carole, but family keeps pulling her back into the closet.
TAKE ME FOR A RIDE / DIR Micaela Rueda / 2016 / Ecuador, México, Colombia / 70 min
Sara's contented senior year solitude is upended by the arrival of the enchanting Andrea, igniting a repressed passion in both of them that challenges the conservative views of their parents and culture.
WOMEN WHO KILL / DIR Ingrid Jungermann / 2016 / USA / 93 min
Exes Morgan and Jean are "Women Who Kill," co-hosts of a podcast about female murderers. But what if Morgan's mysterious new girlfriend might actually be a killer herself?
CHECK IT / DIRS Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer / 2016 / USA / 90 min
Desperate to survive state and police violence, a group of black gay and trans teens form a gang to protect one another. In a country where blackness is criminal, forming a gang is a radical act of resistance.
FEMME BRUTAL / DIRS Liesa Kovacs & Nick Prokesch / 2015 / Austria / 70 min
When all the world's a stage, crafting identity and desire is a performance that develops with and without an audience. In this Austrian documentary, the seven queer- and lesbian-identified performers of Club Burlesque Brutal discuss their experiences with identity and power.
INSIDE THE CHINESE CLOSET / DIR Sophia Luvarà / 2015 / Netherlands / 72 min
Caught between a new gay consciousness in China and deeply rooted family pressures, Andy and Cherry attempt to maintain the illusion of heterosexual family life. Their efforts to resolve this conflict have a quiet but unshakable integrity.
IRRAWADDY MON AMOUR / DIRS Nicola Grignani, Valeria Testagrossa, & Andrea Zambelli / 2015 / Italy / 58 min
In this colorfully immersive documentary, trans activist and shaman Myo Nyunt dares to organize a marriage ceremony in a unique gay-friendly village in the heart of Myanmar/Burma, where the brutal military junta severely penalizes same-sex relationships.
KIKI / DIR Sara Jordenö / 2016 / USA, Sweden / 94 min / Opening Night Film
More than two decades after PARIS IS BURNING, filmmakers Sara Jordenö and Twiggy Pucci Garçon's vibrant documentary fast-forwards to the ballroom scene of today: an unapologetically flamboyant and political subculture centered on LGBTQ youth of color, for whom dance is far more than performance.
LAST MEN STANDING / DIRS Erin Brethauer & Timothy Hussin / 2016 / USA / 65 min
The emotional history of San Francisco's gay community unfolds in the lives of long-term survivors who have found their own profoundly personal ways to celebrate, heal, love, and thrive in the aftermath of the devastation of the early AIDS crisis.
LIVING WITH PRIDE: RUTH C. ELLIS @ 100 / DIR Yvonne Welbon / 1999 / USA / 60 min / Retrospective Film
Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon's breakthrough documentary provides exceptional insight into the life and times of activist and centenarian Ruth C. Ellis, who shows us-with undeniable charm, humor, and joy for life-that a life lived with pride is a life well lived.
OVARIAN PSYCOS / DIRS Joanna Sokolowski & Kate Trumbull-LaValle / 2016 / USA / 72 min
In the midst of persistent sexism and violence against women of color, East LA's Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade builds on the legacy of the Chicanx civil rights movement through support, sisterhood, and having big-ass, kick-ass ovaries.
THE PEARL / DIRS Jessica Dimmock & Christopher LaMarca / 2016 / USA / 95 min
Four transwomen navigate the second half of life in this vérité-style documentary, which illuminates their individual triumphs and analogous struggles against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.
POLITICAL ANIMALS / DIRS Tracy Wares & Jonah Markowitz / 2015 / USA / 90 min
This is the eye-opening story of four out lesbian politicians-Sheila Kuehl, Carole Migden, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe-who took the LGBT civil rights struggle from the streets to California's state capitol.
REAL BOY / DIR Shaleece Haas / 2016 / USA / 72 min
Bennett Wallace is 19, a musician, and in recovery. On a journey to find his own way as a trans man, Bennett bonds with his friend and mentor, musician Joe Stevens of Coyote Grace, while navigating the difficult terrain of his familial relationships.
THE REVIVAL: WOMEN AND THE WORD / DIR Sekiya Dorsett / 2016 / USA / 82 min
In a congregation of Black, queer women artists, the Holy Trinity of "the poet, the people, and the poem" is the heart of a tour centering on the power, inspiration, and real-talk of five poets. This project will leave you saying "amen."
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR / DIR Deborah Esquenazi / 2016 / USA / 89 min / Centerpiece Documentary
At the tail end of the "Satanic ritual abuse panic" of the 1990s, four Latina lesbian women were accused and wrongfully convicted of a heinous sexual assault. After serving over a decade in prison, the women won't stop fighting to prove their innocence, in this heart-wrenching examination of the criminal justice system.
STRIKE A POSE / DIRS Ester Gould & Reijer Zwaan / 2016 / Netherlands, Belgium / 83 min / Showcase Film
In 1990, seven male dancers joined Madonna on her taboo-busting Blond Ambition tour-which blew the roof off of global pop culture, raised AIDS awareness, and turned the dancers into sudden celebrities. This empathetic yet probing portrait revisits that era and traces the dancers' paths from youthful exuberance to complicated adulthood.
TREASURE: FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANS JUSTICE, MAPPING A DETROIT STORY / DIR dream hampton / 2015 / USA / 63 min
An African American transwoman is murdered after police expose her as an informant. This documentary examines why her murder was not only a hate crime but also the consequence of systemic oppression and the continued criminalization of black bodies.
WOMEN HE'S UNDRESSED / DIR Gillian Armstrong / 2015 / Australia / 95 min
This glitzy, dishy documentary traces the rise and fall and rise again of one of the most prolific costume designers of Hollywood's golden age (and an early boyfriend of Cary Grant): three-time Academy Award winner Orry-Kelly. It's a must-see for classic-film buffs.
ARRIVEDERCI ROSA / DIR Flaminia Graziadei / UK / 2015 / 18 min
Two old school friends from Rome meet up again in London. Rosa's a radiant beauty; Andi's a bit of a nerd. Rosa's lust for life helps her friend to see it's not about being gay, being straight, or being Rosa-it's just about being true.
BE FABULOUS, FIRST STOP: SEXITUDE / DIR Meghan Ryan / 2015 / USA / 5 min
Welcome to Sexitude, a body-positive, sex-positive, age-positive dance class in San Francisco, created by D'Arcy Drollinger. The participants in the class represent all shapes, sizes, genders, sexual orientations, and fitness levels, and definitely know how to werk a look in neon spandex, fishnet stockings, and gold booty shorts. Although the class is a physical workout, what is more significant and exceptional about Sexitude is the way the class has brought about personal transformations.
BE RIGHT BACK / DIR Hilda Schmelling / 2016 / USA / 13 min
The owner of a small vintage shop has more on her mind than selling clothes. Over the course of one incredibly eventful morning she finds herself lost in fantasies as each new set of customers sparks her vivid imagination.
CRYSTAL LAKE / DIR Jennifer Reeder / 2016 / USA / 20 min
When a struggling young Muslim girl feels unsafe at the skate park, a group of girls takes over, forming an all-female force field on the half pipe.
DANCE CARD / DIR Renee Crea / 2016 / Australia / 7 min
Cara has something important to tell her grandfather, and she's worried he might find it a bit shocking. But ol'Gramps has some surprises for Cara, too.
DO NOT THINK FOR A MOMENT / DIRS Adria Siu & Vivian Wang / USA / 4 min
Challenging stereotypes of gender, sexuality, and race, three Asian American women share their experiences, frustrations, and identity amid the backdrop of San Francisco's Castro District and other neighborhoods.
THE FRIEND FROM TEL AVIV / DIR Frederica Gianni / 2015 / USA / 11 min
Noam, a young Israeli transman, is nervous and excited about meeting his childhood friend Natan after many years. Louise, a free spirited mom in whose house Noam has been staying for the last six months, decides to throw a party at her place when her kids leave for the weekend. Noam invites Natan to the party, but things get messy when Noam's tender attempts to reconnect with his friend are jeopardized by Louise's inappropriate behavior.
GAYSIANS / DIR Vicky Du / 2015 / USA / 13 min
Capturing diverse portraits of queer and trans Asian Americans, Gaysians is an illuminating patchwork documentary that explores relationships with family and culture.
HOW TO KISS IN PARIS / DIR April Hirschman / 2016 / USA / 6 min
Viviane is sight-seeing in Paris with a book titled The Best Places to Kiss in Paris. An attractive stranger, Oscar, meets her on a bridge and they begin a romance.
ID#1:WRITER / DIR Emilia Ondriasova / 2016 / Slovakia / 4 min
ID#1 is a bisexual woman, a successful writer moving from one city to another, who has experienced not only a taste of fame but also the emptiness of air-conditioned rooms in a nut house where the windows just never open. This short documentary is part of an emerging web series that addresses how being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or intersex is not the sole determining identity of an LGBTI person.
LIBERTAD / DIR Brenda Avila-Hanna / 2015 / USA / 10 min
The inspiring story of Alejandra, who always knew deep down inside that she was a chola, not a cholo.
MEZZO / DIR Nicole Opper / 2015 / USA / 14 min
Directed by Nicole Opper (Off and Running, Frameline33), Mezzo celebrates the life and artistic endeavors of Breanna Sinclaire, an African American opera singer and the first openly trans woman to study at a major conservatory.
OH, I GET IT / DIRS Sara McCaslin & Danny Tayara / 2015 / USA / 9 min
Standup comedians in Seattle paint a picture of oppressive comedy culture and "the queer feminist comic intervention" needed to change it.
ONE LAST NIGHT / DIR Kerem Blumberg / 2015 / Israel / 22 min
It's Noa and Orr's last night together in Tel Aviv before Orr leaves for Berlin. Outside the punk gig, the police arrive. Orr jumps to the aid of a friend, and both she and Noa get arrested. In the police station, Noa will have to make a final decision about their relationship.
PARTNERS / DIR Joey Ally / 2015 / USA / 7 min
When a slump in work/life Partners Kate and Leigh's sex life forces them to reconsider their relationship, they must confront how intertwined their lives have become.
PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY / DIR Natalie Tsui / 2015 / USA / 16 min
In this experimental sci-fi short examining memory and trauma, a reserved programmer grapples with the loss of her beloved as she begins employment at a controversial tech company specializing in high-end artificial companions.
RANIYA / DIR Sidsel Møller Johnsen / 2016 / Denmark / 27 min
Raniya, a young Danish woman with Middle Eastern roots, explores her sexuality by secretly flirting with her peer Julie. In the midst of this, Raniya's heartbroken, nosy, and needy sister enters her personal space and poses a threat to the blossoming relationship.
SPECTRUM / DIR Katrina Kudlick / 2015 / USA / 16 min
In this indie dramedy, two friends are forced to confront their sexuality.
SPUNKLE / DIR Lisa Donato / 2016 / USA / 11 min
Tensions rise when a woman and her wife ask her brother to be the sperm donor of their baby...or the uncle...or the Spunkle!
STICKY FINGERS / DIR Gabriella Moses / 2015 / USA / 12 min
Lucy and Cassie, two best friends, explore their complicated relationship over a night of punk rock, shoplifting, and hair dye. Cassie embraces her edgier side under the guidance of the more radical Lucy, while gaining new confidence in her sexuality and her truth.
STRAWS / DIR Christine Deal / 2015 / USA / 8 min
Meeting someone new and going on a first date can be challenging, as Lionel understands all too well when he finds himself grasping at Straws to figure out which way(s) his new acquaintance swings.
TEAR JERKER / DIR Amy Adler / 2016 / USA / 15 min
Tear Jerker is a portrait of Elliot, a guy faced with difficult life circumstances trying to find new ways to express old and familiar feelings.
TRANSCEND / DIR Kai Towns / 2015 / USA / 17 min
After being estranged from his family for three years, Julian (Kingston Farady, Black Is Blue, Frameline38) returns home to spend Thanksgiving with his family.
VESSELS / DIR Arkasha Stevenson / 2015 / USA / 15 min
The powerful Vessels (winner of the prestigious 2015 Iris Prize for Best Narrative Short Film) follows Diamond, a young Latina transgirl, as she seeks gender confirmation by visiting a hermana who is a "pumper."
VIRGIN TERRITORY / DIR Emily Robinson / 2016 / USA / 15 min
In this sex-positive, queer, and questioning coming-of-age story, a teenage girl wants to have sex for the first time to commence her long-desired exploration.
VOGUING: THE MESSAGE / DIRS Dorothy Low, Jack Walworth & David Bronstein / 1989 / USA / 13 min
One of the most popular titles on Frameline Voices, this pre-Madonna primer on the roots of the gay Black and Latino dance form raises questions about race, sex, and subcultural style.
WHY SHOULD I GIVE A S#*T ABOUT BISEXUALS? (MEN'S EDITION) / DIR Nicole Kristal / 2016 / USA / 11 min
Male participants in the popular #StillBisexual campaign reveal how they came to accept that their bisexual identity was here to stay despite bullying, lost loves, and a lack of acceptance from the gay and lesbian community.
ZEITGEIST 1977: THE FIRST FESTIVAL / DIR Lauretta Molitor / 2016 / USA / 5 min
Participants in the very first "Gay Film Festival of Super-8 Films" (what ultimately became Frameline)-including filmmakers Marc Huestis, David Weissman, Dan Nicoletta, and Rob Epstein-share their recollections in these excerpts from longtime Bay Area filmmaker Lauretta Molitor's upcoming documentary profile of Huestis, Impresario.
About Frameline40: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
Frameline40 runs June 16-26, 2016 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. Commemorate legendary filmmakers, discover emerging talents, and join the distinguished community of festivalgoers at the world's premier LGBTQ film festival and the largest celebration of queer cinema. Festival tickets go on sale to members on Friday, May 27, and to the general public on Friday, June 3. www.frameline.org/festival
Frameline's mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. As a media arts nonprofit, Frameline's programs connect filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and around the world. Frameline's integrated programs provide critical funding for emerging LGBTQ filmmakers, reach hundreds of thousands with a collection of more than 250 films distributed nationally, inspire thousands of students through Youth In Motion, which sends free films and curricula to schools across the nation, and creates an international stage for the world's best queer film through the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival and additional year-round screenings and cinematic events. Learn more at www.frameline.org.